By now, you may have heard of the “Keep the Change” promotion that Bank of America
is running. The Keep the Change program is similar to the old system of pocketing any change from any purchase and stashing it in a piggy bank. Pocketing the change has gone high tech and fully automatic at Bank of America.
It works like this: for any debit card transaction, Bank of America automatically rounds up the price to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference from the Bank of America checking account to the Bank of America savings account. For example, a $10.25 purchase is rounded up to $11 with 75 cents automatically transferred into the savings account – thus the name, Keep the Change.
If this isn’t a simple savings plan, I don’t know what is. But Bank of America sweetens the deal even further by matching the first 3 months of savings 100%. After that, Bank of America kicks in an annual 5% Keep the Change contribution. That’s free money, folks.
Signing up for Bank of America’s Keep the Change program is simple. The only thing needed is to have a Bank of America checking account, debit card and Bank of America savings account. Existing customers simply fill out a form online by entering their debit card number, name and address. New customers must open the appropriate accounts first.
I signed up for the Keep the Change program last December and it’s a no-brainer. Each time I download my transactions into MS Money, the Keep the Change transfers automatically show up. Bank of America adds up all the eligible Keep the Change amounts for the day and makes a single transfer each day. I prefer this to a whole bunch of little transfers every day. I’d actually prefer a weekly transfer but I understand why it’s done daily. Doing it daily makes it less painful. A dollar or two transferred each day won’t be missed whereas a larger weekly transfer may be more noticeable. The whole idea of Keep the Change is to let those small pocket change savings grow over time.
The 100% match from Bank of America won’t show up until I’ve been in (and stayed in) the program for a full year. They pay the matching funds (up to $250) within 8 weeks of the anniversary date of enrollment into the program. Looks like I’ll have a nice post-Christmas payoff.